Being born to two Jewish immigrants, Benjamin Gettler was very passionate about his heritage. Upon his first trip to Israel in 1965 for an international symposium of transit executives, Gettler realized he needed to become more involved. For a portion of the trip, he stayed with his cousin. The two would patrol the border of the village, looking for Syrian “Fedayeen”, who would sneak into the village to kidnap or murder villagers. This and subsequent visits led Gettler to become more involved in the Jewish community by fighting to empower Jews in America, fight antisemitism, and to help support Israel.
Gettler’s activism saw him serve with such organizations as the Jewish Community Relations Council, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Bonds for Israel, the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, the Rockwern Foundation, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and the Jewish Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. As a leader in the Jewish community, Gettler was able to make further contributions to institutions like the University of Cincinnati, where he helped to create and fund the Judaic Studies program through the Jewish Foundation, and the Rockwern Band Center through the Rockwern Foundation.
In 1994, he was appointed Chairman of the board for the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs. JINSA (now the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America) was formed in 1976 advocate for a strong American militaristic support for Israel and Israel-allied nations. During this time, Gettler visited nations such as Turkey, Ethiopia, and Uzbekistan to strengthen and maintain alliances between the United States, Israel, and each respective nation. He also lobbied aggressively with U.S. politicians to support these nations and Israel, as well as pursuing a national missile defense strategy.